Switzerland has three international airports: Zurich, Basel-Mulhouse and Geneva. All three are located less than three hours by road or train from Lausanne, the nearest being Geneva airport.
Swiss public transport is considered all over the world to be a model, as Switzerland enjoys the benefits of a highly diversified transportation network recognised for its reliability and punctuality. The timetables of trains and buses can be easily combined and offer excellent connections for moving from one place, however isolated, to another.
The Swiss Federal Railroads (in French, Chemins de Fer Fédéraux - CFF) offer a wide range of travel documents: tickets, cards for specific itineraries and season tickets. The CFF also have a very effective on-line timetable covering the entire public transport network (trains, buses and boats). It is even possible for you to order and print a ticket at home.
The public transport system of the Lausanne region (TL) is part of the MOBILIS fare consortium that serves a network of 400 km, with 8 train lines, 32 urban bus lines, 29 regional bus lines and 2 subway or underground railway lines. Mobilis has a single fare grid divided into zones: the number of zones covered determines the price of your ticket. The frequency of your movements determines whether it is advantageous for you to buy a ticket, a one-day card or a season ticket.
The Compagnie Générale de Navigation (CGN) offers a speedy and comfortable service around the shores of Lake Geneva. In addition to ordinary transportation, it offers cruises that give you the opportunity to admire ports and castles, hills and vineyards and, last but not least, the snow-covered peaks of the Swiss and Savoy Alps.
How to proceed
The general season ticket of the CFF allows you to travel freely on the entire CFF network as well as on most lines of private railways, boats, buses and urban transportation systems. With the half-rate season ticket, you can travel at half price for one, two or three years. Young people between 16 and 25 years of age holding the Voie 7card can enjoy free 2nd class travel throughout Switzerland from 7pm. Up to 16 years of age, children accompanied by their parents travel free of charge with the Junior card. Also, some towns issue on request a one-day travel card at an advantageous price.On the Lausanne public transport network, a season ticket becomes economical to use for two or more journeys a day. You can arrange for your season ticket to start from the date of your choice and its duration can vary from one week to one year. The annual season ticket is especially advantageous, since you pay for 10 months only, but enjoy the benefit of 12 months transportation.
Switzerland has a network of almost 71,000 kilometres of roads, and traffic drives on the right. The most important rules are as follows:
- the wearing of seat belts is compulsory for front and rear passengers
- the general speed limit is 120 kph on motorways, 100 kph on semi-motorways, 80 kph on main roads outside built-up areas, and 50 kph in built-up areas
- vehicles already on a roundabout have precedence over those entering it
- children aged under 7 must be provided with a child seat or a similar device
- use of a phone at the wheel without a "hands free" system is prohibited
- the obligation to wear a crash helmet applies to all passengers of motor cycles
- driving with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.5 per thousand is prohibited
In Switzerland, road signs indicating motorways are green, while signs indicating main roads are blue. Switzerland charges a fee for the use of its motorways. The motorway sticker label represents a mandatory all-inclusive charge for each vehicle. It can be purchased from customs offices, post offices, service stations, automobile organisations and railway stations and is valid from 1st December of the year of issue for the entire reference year indicated on the sticker, and until 31 January of the year following the reference year, i.e. for a total of 1 year and 2 months.
If you are interested in buying or renting a new or second-hand car, you can contact one of the many car dealers operating in the Lausanne region.
Getting around by car does not necessarily imply car ownership. The "car pool" model is becoming increasingly successful in Switzerland and has even given rise to specialised companies. The Mobility cooperative, founded in 1997, has cars in most Swiss cities. Its members gain access to them through an online booking system.
How to proceedInformation about road and traffic conditions can be obtained by calling the telephone number 163 and is regularly broadcast on the radio. In the event of breakdown, assistance can be requested day and night by calling the number 140. The emergency numbers 117 for the Police and 144 for an Ambulance are free.
Using a bicycle
Despite the challenging topography, a bicycle is very suitable for many short and medium distance journeys in the vicinity of Lausanne. You can easily find bicycles to rent from cycle shops. Also, in some stations, the CFF provides various types of bicycle for its customers (country bikes, mountain bikes and children's bikes).
In Switzerland, anyone who rides a bicycle must have third-party liability insurance. The mandatory label for bicycles includes this insurance. It can be purchased from any Post Office, cycle shops and many other retail outlets. It is valid from 1st January until 31 May of the following year.